RHD Chronology

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RHD Chronology

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1831

June 24 – Rebecca Blaine Harding is born in Washington, Pennsylvania

c.1836
Harding family moves to Wheeling, Virginia

1845
enters Washington Female Seminary in Washington, PA

1847
takes communion for first time at St. Matthews Episcopal Church

1848
graduates valedictorian from Washington Female Seminary

1850s
Periodical publications in Wheeling Intelligencer

1852
Baltimore and Ohio Railroad comes to Wheeling, soon changing the town to an important iron manufacturing center

1856
Archibald Campbell becomes editor of Wheeling Intelligencer; paper becomes a strong supporter of Republican party, Abraham Lincoln, and antislavery; some time thereafter RHD begins publishing occasional editorials/articles in its pages

1860s
Periodical publications in Atlantic Monthly, Galaxy, Health and Home, Lippincott’s, Peterson’s, New-York Tribune, Putnam’s, Wheeling Intelligencer

1861
April, publishes first fiction, “Life in the Iron-Mills,” in the Atlantic Monthly

April 17, Virginia secedes from the Union

Mid-April, Atlantic Monthly editor James T. Fields rejects her novel “The Deaf and The Dumb” as too gloomy; rewrites it for serialization as "Margret Howth"

May 13, convention in Wheeling to counter Virginia’s secession; shortly thereafter Wheeling becomes capital of “New Virginia”

May 20, RHD begins correspondence with Annie Adams Fields; around same time corresponds with Nathaniel Hawthorne

November, begins publishing anonymously in Peterson’s Magazine, for which she will be a regular contributor for 32 years

1862
March, Wheeling becomes headquarters of the Mountain Department of the Union Army under the command of General John C. Frémont; RHD becomes friends with Frémont and his wife Jessie Benton Frémont

June to mid-August, travels with brother Hugh as escort to New York, where she visits Frémonts; Boston to see the Fieldses; Concord to see Hawthorne, Emerson, the Alcotts, and other renowned New England writers; Philadelphia, where she visits L. Clarke Davis, a lawyer with whom she has been corresponding since he wrote to praise “Life in the Iron-Mills”; and Baltimore, where she visits her friend Rev. Cyrus Dickson and his spouse

October, Margaret Howth published in book form

1863
March 5, marries L. Clarke Davis (1835-1904) in Wheeling, moves with him to Philadelphia where she lives for the remainder of her life

late 1863, exhausted, a pregnant RHD is ordered to bed for rest and no writing by her physician, S. Weir Mitchell

December, visits Wheeling to see her ailing father

1864
March 20, father dies

April 18, son Richard Harding Davis (1864-1916) born; RHD very ill after giving birth, combination of postpartum depression and shock of her father’s death; by late June she is recovering

fall, visits mother in Washington, PA; while absent, Clarke moves them into their first home, a rented row house

1865
April 14, President Lincoln assassinated; RHD writes to Annie Adams Fields of the “great and holy” cause for which Lincoln died

Summer, the Davis family begins to spend summers on the Manasquan coast of New Jersey at Point Pleasant, a pattern they will continue for many years

1866
January, RHD suffers from neuralgia in the breast and right arm

January 24, son Charles Belmont Davis (1866-1926) born

December, begins writing for The Galaxy

1867
family moves to another rented row house

February-December, "Waiting for the Verdict" serialized in The Galaxy

1868
book version of Waiting for the Verdict appears

January, begins publishing in Lippincott’s Monthly Magazine with serial “Dallas Galbraith”

1869
returns to journalism, becoming contributing editor for the New-York Tribune, a position she will hold for twenty years

Clarke becomes managing editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper

January, begins publishing in Hearth and Home with the temperance serial “The Tembroke Legacy”

February, begins publishing in Putnam’s Magazine

The Davises move into the first home they own, at 230 South Twenty-first Street; they live there for the remainder of their lives

November, becomes involved in campaign to reform treatment of the mentally ill with editorial in the New-York Tribune; following spring will continue campaign with serial “Put Out of the Way” in Peterson’s

1870s
Periodical publications in American Homes, Appleton’s, Atlantic Monthly, Congregationalist, Galaxy, Golden Rule, Harper’s, Hearth and Home, Herald and Presbyter, Independent, Lippincott’s, New-York Tribune, Our Young Folks, Peterson’s, Philadelphia Press, Putnam’s, Riverside Magazine for Young People, Saturday Evening Post, Scribner’s Monthly, St. Nicholas, Wood’s Household, Youth’s Companion

1870
January, begins publishing children’s literature in Our Young Folk and the next month in the Riverside Magazine for Young People

November, begins publishing with newly founded Scribner’s Monthly Magazine

1871
begins writing for Youth’s Companion, for which she will remain a regular contributor for 26 years

1872
October 16, daughter Nora Davis (1872-1958) is born

1873
January, returns to Wheeling and is dismayed at the environmental destruction from oil production

January, publishes last story for many years in Atlantic Monthly, now under William Dean Howells’ editorship

late 1873, Mary Mapes Dodge approaches RHD about contributing to juvenile periodical, St. Nicholas; first story appears in November

1874
John Andross, a critique of capitalist corruption, serialized in Hearth and Home and published in book form

Kitty’s Choice: A Story of Berrytown, and Other Stories published after serializatioon as “Berrytown” in Lippincott’s

August, travels to North Carolina for research for stories to be published in Scribner’s in 1875

August, becomes a regular contributor of editorial cultural analyses for The Independent; she will write for the periodical 34 years

1876
March, begins publishing fiction in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine

May 10, Centennial Exhibition opens in Philadelphia; RHD contributes articles on the Centennial to numerous periodicals

1877
February, corresponds with Kate Field about British publication of her work

March, begins publishing in Boston’s The Golden Rule (later named Sunday Afternoon)

May, becomes regular contributor to The Congregationalist; writes for the periodical for 26 years

1878
July, travels to Cheat Mountain in West Virginia; joined by brother Hugh; then to North Carolina and to Point Pleasant

A Law Unto Herself published in book form

1879
May, RHD again travels to North Carolina mountains

1880s
Periodical publications in American Agriculturalist, Atlantic Monthly, Brooklyn Magazine, Century Illustrated, Church Magazine, Congregationalist, Fireside Teacher, Friends’ Intelligencer, Golden Argosy, Good Company, Harper’s Bazar, Harper’s New Monthly, Independent, Lippincott’s, New-York Tribune, North American Review, Our Continent, Peterson’s, Philadelphia Telegraph, Scribner’s Monthly, Scribner’s Magazine, Youth’s Companion

1880
Extends her journalism by publishing with Philadelphia Press/i> newspaper under Moses Purnell Handy’s editorship

December, begins her public condemnation of US policies toward Native Americans with editorial in New-York Tribune; Helen Hunt Jackson seeks RHD’s help in getting out information about “the Indian Question”

1884
spends part of summer in Alabama, researching for publications

October 9, mother Rachel Leet Wilson Harding dies while staying with Davises

1885
November, publishes again in Atlantic Monthly under editorship of Thomas Bailey Aldrich

1886
Rose Terry Cooke visits RHD in Philadelphia

1887
RHD’s long-time editor at Peterson’s, Charles J. Peterson, dies

March, seriously ill but recovering by late March

May, begins publishing nonfiction as well as fiction in Congregationalist; she will contribute to the periodical for 16 years

spring, travels South collecting material for serial “Here and There in the South” (Harper’s)

April, Ida Tarbell identifies RHD as one of the notable women journalists of the era

Begins spending part of summer in Marion, Massachusetts; joined there by family friends Frances and President Grover Cleveland

October, Clarke resigns as managing editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer to take position as lead writer for the Public Ledger, the prominent newspaper in Philadelphia; in November he is promoted to associate editor

December, begins writing for Harper’s Bazaar

1889
resigns from her editorial correspondent position at the New-York Tribune after twenty years

November, RHD revealed to be a “salaried editorial attaché” for Youth’s Companion

In these years, Davis family becomes one of most prominent literary, journalistic, and society families in US; the literary reputation of “The Davis Family” continues until RHD’s death

1890s
Periodical publications in Book Buyer, Century Illustrated, Century’s End, Christian Observer, Congregationalist, Harper’s Bazar, Harper’s New Monthly, Independent, Ladies’ Home Journal, Lady’s Treasury, North American Review, Peterson’s, Scribner’s Magazine, St. Nicholas, Youth’s Companion

1891
January, former President and Mrs. Cleveland are guests of the Davises for three days; creates extraordinary media attention

late May, RHD travels to Europe for first time with Nora on the City of Paris out of New York City; they travel in France, Switzerland, Italy, and Clarke joins them in England in July; RHD and Nora return to States in early October

1892
October, publishes a collection of short stories, Silhouettes of American Life

Publishes young adult novel, Kent Hampden

1893
January, RHD ends her 32-year association with Peterson’s Magazine

May, RHD attends Chicago’s World’s Fair with daughter Nora

1894
June 6, dines with Clarke and son Richard at Delmonico’s in New York City; this will become a common practice for the Davises

1895
summer, travels to Florence, Italy with daughter Nora to see son Charles who is the US Consul there; returns in August to spend remainder of summer in Marion

1896
summer, RHD travels to Europe; in England meets Frances Willard for first time

November, publishes novel Doctor Warrick’s Daughters

1897
As end of century nears, many retrospectives name RHD as one of the century’s most notable writers

Publishes last novel, Frances Waldeaux

August, begins spending part of each summer in Warm Springs, Virginia; will continue this pattern for next decade

1898
February, USS Maine explodes in Havanna Harbor; beginning of the Spanish-American War

1899
July, publishes one of her most provocative anti-war articles, “The Mean Face of War”

1900s
Periodical publications in Century Illustrated, Christian Observer, Churchman, Congregationalist, Harper’s New Monthly, Independent, Chicago Interior, Ladies’ Home Journal, Metropolitan, Outlook, Saturday Evening Post, Scribner’s Magazine, Smart Set, St. Nicholas, Success, Women’s Home Companion

1900
December, former President Cleveland and his wife stay with Davises in Philadelphia

1901
February, publishes a damning critique of “Lord Kitchner’s Methods” in the Boer War

February, arrives in Ocala, Florida with Clarke, whose health is failing; have been spending winters here for a few years and will do so until Clarke’s death in 1904

June 24, RHD’s 70th birthday

Around this time becomes editorial correspondent for the New York World newspaper

1902
May, becomes regular contributor to Saturday Evening Post

1904
Publishes Bits of Gossip, her autobiography

December 14, husband L. Clarke Davis dies

1905
Continues to summer at Warm Springs

1906
May, travels to Europe with Nora

Late summer, in Warm Springs and Point Pleasant

1907
May, her first article in New-York Tribune in nearly three decades appears

1908
January, her eyesight is so bad now that she has difficulty reading and writing

July, writing a family history for her children

Fall, has successful eye surgery and returns to publishing in several periodicals

1909
January, becomes ill; does not recover until April

Summers at Warm Springs, Virginia, with daughter Nora

1910
early in year, suffers minor stroke; recovering by summer

June, celebrates her 79th birthday; article honoring her appears in Life

summer at Point Pleasant, New Jersey; then travels through Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New York to see friends, ending at son Richard’s New York home, Crossroads Farm

September 29, Rebecca Harding Davis dies at son Richard’s home. Obituaries appear in newspapers across the country; one of the best appears in the New-York Tribune where she had gained her reputation as a journalist

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